The Nacimiento del Rio San Juan

R and I went up to olive country. As soon as we arrived in the Cafe del Parque in Alcala la Real, I felt a deep peace.. I realise this might be the place I want to settle one day. I deeply love Las Alpujarras and the sublime beauty, but there’s an undercurrent with a certain aspect that doesn’t sit well with me, and I felt more in tune with the honesty and integrity of the way of life in and around Alcala.

We went to the Nacimiento del Rio San Juan, (the source of the river.) Very peaceful and the water was deliciously cold. We listened to Vicente Amigo as we wound around the olive mountain roads.

Then on to dear friends’ glorious cortijo retreat in Sabariego where S made us sangria with an array of different alcohols, fruit and cinnamon sticks. We watched flamenco and ate paella. Then much later, back to Tijola which took hours. More winding and precipitous roads beyond midnight.

I realise my love affair with Andalucia continues, but I’m not ready to live here yet. I’m not ready to slow down to the pace of life necessary to cope with the heat. There’s so much painting I want to do and I want to paint outside but the heat makes it prohibitive. I’ll have plenty to draw from with my photographs when I get home. At least I’ve painted a couple of paintings while here..but I’ve only been able to walk in the mountains in the early mornings..

I miss the liveliness and music of my home town of Hastings, but Andalucia.. I’ll be back soon

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Marta Goddess of the cortijo

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Walking, painting, baking a cake..

I am reminded by this landscape of my childhood in Australia and of my years in southern California.

Walking, painting and baking a cake for a birthday. Learning the pace of life that feels right.

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Work in progress

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An outdoor studio

Woke up to mountains early just to watch the changing light. There is nothing like watching mountains being reborn in the morning.

I took my sister up to La Taha after a morning of painting outdoors. Processing a lot.

We met all kinds of people in Atalbeitar. We arrived and suddenly all kinds of gentle souls appeared, as though by divine direction. People I needed to meet somehow. Food, conviviality and a feeling that people are drawn to similar places for a deeper meaning.

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Orgiva August/Sept 2017

This gallery contains 9 photos.


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Wings of Desire

Latest painting

Wings of Desire. Title from a Wim Wenders film I love.

The painting is acrylic on heavyweight paper. Measures 30 cm by 40 cm.

In my Etsy shop:

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Sketches of Today





Sketches from my sketch book, nasturtiums in the Crown, my new glasses and my daughter’s gig’s sound check at the De la Warr Pavillion with the Printworks, Hastings where it was blowing a gale, wind whipping up from the sea, raining on the band.  Nevertheless it was a great set.  Ellie’s voice always blows me away, along with the wind, and she performed her own original songs, plus some covers from Lake Street Dive, Amy Winehouse and others.  Love her xx


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Panel Lane and a walled garden

Yesterday on a longish walk through Panel Lane and up to Icklesham I was thinking about these ancient roads.  Panel lane is an ancient pig drove, and is very deep set and has huge high banks.  When you walk down it, it seems to go on forever, and descends quite low, with huge high banks where you can see the root work of trees and layers of earth and rock; so many times has it been walked and worn down over time.  Before ascending again, you come to a lovely old brick bridge with views on either side of the small river, which isn’t a river at all, (though I like to think it is,) prosaically entitled Panel Sewer.. except I have seen swans gliding along it, so to my mind it’s a river.. and I always think of the words to the Leonard Cohen song: ‘The Traitor’
‘Now the Swan it floated on the English river …Ah the Rose of High Romance it opened wide …’

Yesterday as I was thinking about little interventions in nature, I saw some rural ‘love graffiti’, painstakingly written by a couple in love..their names Geoff and Tracy, and I thought the names to be people of around fifty or more, in the flush of middle-aged love, they had declared their love on the bridge of Panel Sewer.  Their love declarations are to be found all over the countryside around Panel Lane..on trees, stiles, fences, gate posts…I photographed some..

Panel Lane is said to be haunted.  Sometimes I think it’s some kind of portal.  People have seen apparitions.  I haven’t.  Sometimes N used to walk to the Queen’s Head on a full moon night, and then his intention was to walk back.  Well, sometimes, it turned out he couldn’t.  I would get a ‘phone call asking me to rescue him as he felt he could not walk further down the lane, into the ancient descent, with woods and owls on either side..  He sometimes ‘saw’ things in the lane or ‘heard’ them.  So off I went, usually in my pyjamas, awakened from my slumber, to drive in the night to rescue him from the darkest part of the lane.

In the evening I went to a party which had a walled garden.  One of my favourite English things.





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